Polk County residents voice concerns over zoning ordinance for outdoor shooting ranges

Published 12:28 pm Tuesday, August 22, 2023

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Citizens cite noise pollution, impacts on property values


POLK COUNTY—At the Polk County Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday, several citizens voiced their concerns over a zoning ordinance and exceptions for outdoor shooting ranges.

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According to the zoning ordinance, four specific qualifications must be met to receive a special use permit for shooting ranges. Use of the range must comply with the standards for such use, must not adversely affect health or safety, must not be detrimental or injurious to property and the property use must be designed and operated in harmony with the neighborhood

Applicants would have to apply for a permit from the Planning Department and prove they have met the four stipulations  in order to place an outdoor shooting range on their property.

Shannon Carney of Green Creek asked the Board to remove the special use permit exception for outdoor shooting ranges. “After talking to multiple residents living in Polk County, there’s a good deal of concern about the changes to the zoning ordinance regarding outdoor shooting ranges, specifically in the multi-use and family farm zoning,” said Carney.

Carney says that the majority of the unused, rural land in the county is considered multi-use, and cited concerns regarding noise pollution, negative impact on property values, the possibility of soil and groundwater contamination and the result it could have on tourism.

Sonya Carlson of Tryon echoed Carney’s concerns, stating “We live in this beautiful paradise, and we don’t need noise pollution.”

Commissioner Myron Yoder felt the ordinance served its purpose as is, and said an amendment was unnecessary. 

“I think it’s a very valid concern, [but] I think the citizens have all the power right now on this,” Yoder said, addressing those that spoke against the zoning ordinance.

“I like what we have now in place,” added Commissioner Paul Beiler.

The zoning ordinance was unanimously passed as originally written.